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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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avoid him as a sharp stumbling-block. But he does
not belong to the philosophers "who trust boldly to
their ideas, te teaches his doctrines very perseveringly.
The annuals are the fruit of this desire, and 1 joined
the society to show that this was not to be Its exclu-
sive purpose. I do, however,, associate with Hegel,
and am? In social life, on good terms with him. I
respect his talents and capabilities, without ignoring
the above-named faults/*
The nature of BEumboldt^s mind reveals itself more
and more towards the latter end of his life, and it
becomes evident that not the Influence over others,
not action, but an eminently ideal feature, inspired
him. His was a thoroughly Inquiring nature : the
aim of Ms inquiries were ideas, and even his com-
prehensive intellectuality was subordinate to this
purpose. But he distinguishes himself from the
Indian sage, by not devoting himself exclusively to
the contemplation of the divinity, "but., like the tarue
son of the more Mstorical quarter of the globe, to the
conceivable and practical, to the Investigation of the
intellectually-material nature of humanity, to the
laws of human development, and the course of general
history. When he did not act, he Hved more In the
contemplation of events of the past, and chiefly of
antiquity, than of the present, more in Ideas than In
realities. This arose from a general view which he
had early formed, that the development and perfection
of the Individual were the Jbdghest principle, and that
the tribute even which every individual Is bound to
pay to the  community, is yet principally the means
for the development of this chief aim. Humboldt
had paid Ms due tribute to the community; he still
paid it, in so far as Ms activity affected the^ world;
but he lived principally for himself and liis own
And  in tMs           Humboldt   esrpresses   himself
unreservedly,, in the confidential letters written at
tMs time. He always speaks with, great Indifference
of how the world judges "whs& lie does or did ^ and